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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

desire to reach a settlement with her mighty neighbour, which was most
abhorrent to many of his fellow-countrymen, confronted with the obstinate
and inflexible resistance of his London colleagues, whose veto was like the
former Liberum Veto*, which played so great a part in the ruin of Poland,
with these circumstances around him, Mr. Mikolajczyk decided to resign.
Almost a month has passed since then, and now I imagine that the prospects
of a reconciliation between the Polish Government and the Lublin Com-
mittee., with the Soviet Government behind them, have definitely receded;
although they might, perhaps, advance again were Mr. Mikolajczyk able to
speak with authority for the fortunes of the Polish nation.
" The consequences of this rescission of hopes of a working agreement
between Russia and the Poles have been masked to British eyes by the fact
that the Russian armies on the long Vistula front have been motionless, but
when they move forward, as move forward they surely will, and the Germans
are expelled from large new tracts of Poland, the area administered by the
Lublin Cornmitee will grow, and its contacts with the Soviet Government
will become more intimate and strong. I do not know what misfortunes will
attend such a development The absence of an agreement may well be
grievous for Poland, and the relationship and misunderstandings between
the advancing Russian armies and the Polish underground movement may
take forms which will be most painful to all who have the permanent well-
being of Poland and her relationship with Russia at heart. The fact that a
Prime Minister resigns and that a new Government is formed does not, of
course, affect the formal diplomatic relationship between States. We still
recognise the Polish Government in London as the Government of Poland,
as we have done since they reached our shores in the early part of this war.
This course has been continued up to the present by all the rest of the United
Nations, excepting only Russia, which is the Power most concerned and the
Power whose armies will first enter the heart of Poland. It is a source of
grief to me that all these forces could not have been joined together more
speedily against the common foe.
" I cannot accept the view that the arrangements which have to be pro-
posed about the frontiers of the new Poland are not solid and satisfactory,
or that they would not give to Poland that' abiding home ? of which I spoke
to the House in February. If Poland concedes Lwow and the surrounding
regions in the South, or the line known as Curzon Line A, which my
right hon. friend the Foreign Secretary will deal with in more detail later on
in the Debate—if Poland makes this concession and these lands are joined
to the Ukraine, she will gain in the North the whole of East Prussia west and
south of the fortress of Koenigsberg, including the great city and port of
Danzig, one of the most magnificent cities and harbours in the whole of the
world, famous for centuries as a great gathering place of the trade of the Baltic,
and, indeed, of the world. This will be hers instead of the threatened and
artificial Corridor, which was built so laboriously after the last war, and
Poland will stretch broadly along the Baltic on a front of over 200 miles.
The Poles are free, so far as Russia and Great Britain are concerned, to
extend their territory, at the expense of Germany 5 to the West. I do not
propose to go into exact details, but the extensions, which will be supported
* " Liberum Veto," was the highest embodiment of the esteem for the rights of
the individual,—one member of Parliament possessed the power to arrest a Bill if
he considered that Bill to be contrary to the interests of the country. It was a
power which had frequently been abused in Poland at the end of the seventeenth
and during the eighteenth century. The comparison in this case was not
applicable—Mikolajczyk had been " confronted with the resistance of his London
colleagues," and he found himself alone against his Cabinet.
361